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Shipping Container Cabin Ideas: Increasing the Wind Load Capacity

20.07.2014 - Posted by Updated On 20.07.2014    

Shipping container cabins are growing in popularity; and while they are catching on, many people don't know where to start on a container cabin project.  We've recently completed our own container cabin project and over the past few months we've been documented the process of building a shipping container cabin, and shared pictures, ideas, and how to build a cabin with basic amenities and features. So far we discussed:

In this article, we're going to discuss how we increased the wind load capacity of our container cabin.  In many places wind isn't a major factor as there are natural structures and obstacles that help to break up the wind and prevent it from growing too dangerous speeds that can cause damage to anything in its path.  However, in certain areas wind is a concern that needs to be addressed - our container cabin is in the high plains of Wyoming and wind is a potential issue and our solution was simple and required limited on-site work.

shipping container connection 1 shipping container connection 2 shipping container connection 3

Our cabin needed to house sleeping quarters for up to 24 people, so we required two 40' shipping containers (which we upgraded to high cubes).  After consulting with an engineer we decided that the best configuration to provide shade, shelter from the wind, and increase the wind load capacity, was to put the containers in an L shape and fasten the two units together.

We originally planned to create a simple way to join the containers at the shop, and have them connected once they were dropped on the site, but opted against this because of concerns over how close the containers could be put together and how they would settle on the ground.  In the end, we worked with a local welder to connect the two containers at four points, two inside of the L and two outside of the L, and meet the engineer's requirements.

Outside of structural requirements, the L shape provides a protected area where people can sit, relax, and eat while having full protection from the wind.

Recommendations: Connecting two or more containers in an L shape is a great solution.  If you plan to do this there are a couple of things to check and plan around that could save you time and money.

1. Driver Skills and Ability: Check with your driver to see if they're confident that they can put the two containers directly against each other.  We didn't do this, and our driver was able to put the containers perfectly together.  Having known this we could have built a system that would have allowed us to bolt the containers together, and save on the cost of having a welder on-site. alt

2. Ground Conditions and Foundation Type:  The two containers were placed on railroad ties and there were originally concerns about how they would settle.  Logic told us that the ground was solid, but adding the weight of a 40' high cube container might cause the ground to compact in different ways and any method that we planned to use to connect the containers wouldn't be usable.  While there was a little bit of settling, we would have been able to connect the containers with any system designed at the shop.  Our driver is skilled enough to move the containers, and we could have shimmed any low spots up to connect the units.

Connecting Conclusions

Connecting two shipping containers greatly increases the wind load capacity and our configuration means that the structure will be able to withstand winds well over 120 miles per hour.  Having the two units connected added a noticeable amount to our project costs, and had we communicated with our driver we could have designed and welded on a system at the shop, and bolted the containers together on site.  While the outcome was the same, we could have saved money by not needing to have a welder on-site to perform the additional work.

If you have any questions about building a shipping containers cabin, or shipping containers in general, feel free to contact If you have any questions about specific shipping containers for sale on the site please contact the seller directly through the listing page.

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